Iran News Round Up
The Iran News Round Up ran from February 2009-September 2018. Visit the Iran File for the latest analysis.
A selection of the latest news stories and editorials published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by AEI Critical Threats Project Iran Analyst Will Fulton and Iran Intern Amir Toumaj, with contributor John Lisnewich. To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online.
(E) = Article in English
Excerpts of these translations may only be used with the expressed consent of the authors.
- National Security and Foreign Policy Parliamentary Commission member and former senior IRGC commander Brig. Gen. Esmail Mohammad Kowsari predicted that no negotiations would take place between Iran and the United States. He emphasized that President Hassan Rouhani’s maneuvering is open “only in the tactical arena and not in the system’s broader policy in the foreign [affairs] arena.”
- Principlist parliamentary faction member MP Hojjat al-Eslam Rouhollah Hosseinian discussed potential negotiations with the United States:
- “Based on the constitution, the Supreme Leader determines the broader policies of the Islamic Republic system, which include the system’s broader policies regarding relations with various countries.”
- “I consider it doubtful that Dr. Rouhani will [negotiate with the United States] without consultation and permission from the Supreme Leader. In any case, Mr. Rouhani has gone to the front lines and all must support him in this matter.”
- “If for any reason it was planned for Mr. Rouhani to enter negotiations [with the United States] on behalf of the Islamic Republic system, everyone must support it. Secondly, some of those who express such happiness should not commit mistakes that, God forbid, would cause our weakness.”
- “It is my belief that Mr. Rouhani will certainly not do what he desires without the cooperation of the Supreme Leader. Of course Mr. Rouhani knows that the constitution has emphasized this and that it is not possible for him to do anything without [the Supreme Leader’s] permission.”
- According to IRGC affiliate Mashregh News, a source in Tehran claims that President Rouhani has received “total and comprehensive” discretion regarding nuclear negotiations, “parts of which are unprecedented.”
- Rouhani also reportedly has “very broad discretion regarding interactions with America. At the same time, the red lines are completely clear and nonnegotiable.” The source added, “The truth is that the chance of the negotiation’s fruitfulness is assessed very negatively in Tehran. Very few believe that America will enter serious negotiations from a position of mutual respect or will be able to resist the Israelis’ pressure, and perhaps the main problem before Israel may be within America itself.”
- “From Tehran’s view, the problem is not achieving a win-win formula. The problem is that when we have reached such a status will there be the necessary political will to [bring forth a] recommendation to agreement in America or not. Currently, no serious signs have been observed whether in official diplomacy or track-two diplomacy.”
- “Mr. Rouhani has very little time. The path of return will begin much earlier than the Americans imagine.”
- First Deputy to the President Eshagh Jahangiri stated, “Today, our country’s president opened a new environment in the world from a position of complete strength with reason and logic.”
- Senior cleric Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi called the IRGC “the country’s firm trench” and said, “We hope that the IRGC becomes stronger, more ready and firmer against the enemies so that no enemy even imagines attacking the Islamic Republic.”
- Iraqi Shi’a Abu Fadl al-Abbas Brigade Commander “Abu Ajib” was reportedly injured this past month fighting in Syria but will soon return to the “field of jihad.”
- Lebanese Hezbollah (LH) Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah called reports of Syrian chemical weapons transfer to LH “laughable, because Hezbollah is committed to religious prohibitions regarding chemical weapons usage.” He added, “Iranian IRGC forces have been present in Syria since 1982 and currently their numbers do not surpass the tens.” He then called recent events in Bahrian “very dangerous.”
- Iraqi Defense Minister Sadoun al-Dulaimi and a senior delegation arrived in Tehran yesterday to meet with Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan. Dulaimi is reportedly accompanied by Chief of Staff of Iraq's Army Babakir Zebari and the commanders of Iraq's air and ground forces. In a meeting with the delegation, Minister Dehghan announced Iran's readiness to equip and strengthen the Iraqi army, as “an independent, united, uniform, strong and secure Iraq guarantees regional security and is the groundwork for the country’s progress.”
- During his first day in NYC, President Hassan Rouhani will reportedly attend UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon’s banquet dinner and meet with some participating countries' leaders, the most important of which is French President Francois Hollande. Secretary Ban predicted that President Rouhani will meet with his American counterpart, President Barack Obama, on the sidelines of this banquet. Rouhani will address the United Nations General Assembly today at 1700, Eastern Time, to discuss Islamic Republic positions regarding regional and international events.
- Landing at John F Kennedy Airport in New York, President Hassan Rouhani discussed his agenda. He is scheduled to address the United National (UN) General Assembly, UN Disarmament Conference and the Non-Alignment Foreign Ministers Session, in addition to meeting with international officials. He stated, “Our main hope for this trip is the Iranian nation’s support of the hopeful and prudent administration, the Supreme Leader’s support, and the good prayer of all Muslims. We hope to take good steps in the path of explaining the system’s goals and fulfilling the Iranian nation’s rights.”
- Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif considered his meeting with EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton as a “positive beginning,” and expressed hope about the Thursday Iran-P5+1 meeting. He met with British Foreign Minister William Hague and discussed Tehran-London relations, the nuclear issue, Syria, and Afghanistan. Both sides highlighted the necessity of “beginning a trend in normalizing bilateral relations.”
- Foreign Minister Zarif met with counterparts from Greece, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Croatia, Australia, Italy and Switzerland today to discuss increasing bilateral, multilateral and regional relations.
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Marzieh Afkham discussed upcoming senior official meetings at the United Nations General Assembly and Iran’s nuclear position:
- “There is no plan for this meeting [between Foreign Minister Zarif and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry] in the agenda and any meeting has to take place in the P5+1 framework.”
- “This flexibility must not be interpreted as weakness or a retreat from positions, certain rights, or ideals of the Iranian nation.”
- “Heroic flexibility is based upon the clear ideals and principles of the Islamic Republic with reliance on the three specific principles of greatness, reason and expediency.”
- Deputy Foreign Minister for Middle East and North African Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian condemned Sunday's mortar attack on the Russian embassy in Damascus, Syria.
- Cultural Advisor to the President Hesameddin Ashna, who is accompanying President Rouhani to the United Nations, announced, “Iran has come to America with an open mind, not with open arms.”
- Turkish and Qatari Defense Ministers, Ismet Yilmaz and Hamd Ibn Ali Al-Atifeh respectively, yesterday congratulated the appointment of Defense Minister Dehghan . Yilmaz emphasized close bilateral cooperation and expansion of relations between Iran and Turkey, and Atifeh expressed the Qatari Armed Forces’ “warmest wishes” for the advancement of the Iranian Armed Forces.
Military and Security
- Armed Forces General Staff Basij Affairs and Defense Culture Deputy Brig. Gen. Massoud Jazayeri discussed preconditions for the potential renewal of United States-Iran relations:
- “Before America ponders its future relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran, it has debts to Iran that must be cleared.”
- “Blocking Iranian assets, downing Iranian civilian flights, sanctions, spying and assassination are just parts of America’s black file in relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
- “America was the main reason for the beginning of the Eight Year Imposed War [Iran-Iraq War] against the Islamic Republic and is a partner in all of the destruction and crime that occurred in this period.”
- "The behavior of America and its allies in the region demonstrate the regime’s arrogant characteristics and the American government’s greed. This regime only retreats when it is facing a strong and firm opponent.”
- Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) Commander Brig. Gen. Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam denied reports regarding LEF Deputy Commander Brig. Gen. Ahmad Radan’s resignation and discussed Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s “heroic flexibility” speech. He stated, “Interpretations regarding the Supreme Leader’s speech regarding Imam Hassan’s peace and heroic flexibility is not correct. We must have our own tactics and methods against the constantly changing tactics and methods of the enemies.”
- IRGC Navy Commander Brig. Gen. Ali Fadavi discussed Persian Gulf deterrence and supported President Rouhani’s diplomatic overture to the United States:
- “The Americans’ understanding of the IRGC's capability levels is less than they know.”
- “No one, either within or outside of the Persian Gulf, thinks about threatening the Islamic Revolution.”
- “Of course, [diplomatic negotiations with the U.S.] have not occurred yet, but Mr. Rouhani, as our country’s respected President, is aware of the capabilities of the Revolution and revolutionary forces. He has had different responsibilities throughout his long years and has even had responsibilities in security matters. Just as he announced, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s essential interests are not something that any [measures should forego]. Mr. Rouhani is at work with strong support and will, God-willing, receive good results. Mr. Rouhani has complete and comprehensive information and certainly his presence in New York will create many blessings.”
- Military Advisor to the Supreme Leader and former Artesh Air Force Commander Brig. Gen. Reza Pardish stated, “Islamic Iran has reached a place today where no country can describe a place for itself without [Iran] in its equations. Certainly, IRGC and Artesh are two forces that must defend these waters and lands based on their given mission…. Without Iran's opinions, peace plans will not succeed in Syria.”
- Control of the Bushehr nuclear power plant has reportedly been officially transferred from Russia to Iran. Construction began in 1977 but stopped after the Revolution and the Iran-Iraq War. German contractors who originally began construction were no longer interested in reentering the project. Moscow and Tehran then signed an $800 million agreement in 1995 and the plan was operationalized in 2011.
- Head of the Central Bank Valiollah Seif announced that the dollar exchange rate has reached a price floor after depreciating by more than 7%, and that “there is no reason for reducing the currency rate, and its only reason was optimistic news regarding future economic situations.” He then added that the bank possesses replacement tools to connect with other banks after being banned from SWIFT last year.
- Oil Ministry Safety Director Mohammad Hossein Ardeshiri announced that the Oil Ministry will continue “serious supervision on safety issues,” the strengthening of pipeline safety, and repairs following three explosions, despite resistance from the private sector.
Photo of the Day
- Bushehr Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Gholam Ali Safaei Bushehri and Head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi attend the signing ceremony, temporarily transferring responsibility of the Bushehr nuclear plant from Russian to Iranian scientists.